Monday, October 10, 2005

Past Therapy

My therapy started in elementary school. I don’t remember the first time, but out of the blue, I started getting called to the principal’s office over the intercom. I was about 7 at the time and getting called to the principal’s office sent shivers down my spine. Once at the office I met a nice lady there who took me to a small room that I didn’t even know existed, it may have been a converted broom closet. By the way; every speech therapist I’ve ever had has been an exceptionally nice lady. I had a few different therapists, but the one I remember the most was Ms. Mosher.

Ms. Mosher would have me read a list of words and take home lists of words to practice. I’ve got to say, I don’t remember having this benefit me in any way. A classmate was having the same therapy, and he didn’t feel that it benefited him either. We both felt that we were doing nothing more than practicing our stutter.

I don’t remember any pattern to it, but it seemed to start randomly and end randomly. It might last weeks or months, then stop. Then the next year it would start again. I really didn’t like it, and when it stopped, I was usually pretty relieved. This continued through elementary school until about grade 5.

Then in high school out of the blue, I was once again getting summoned to the office, where Ms. Mosher would be waiting for me. This went on for a little bit then stopped. I really didn’t feel I was benefiting from it, and may have told her that. I don’t remember too much about it.

Then in my early 20’s, my blocks got so bad, I could not talk at all. At one point I went to a hypnotherapist. The hypnotherapist went to work putting me under, but he was under the mistaken impression my problem was caused by a low self esteem and being easily intimidated.

Once the hypnotherapist put under, he suggested I would speak as naturally as I would speaking to a good friend. I told him I stutter with good friends. He said ok, I would speak as naturally as I would speaking to a family member. I told him I stutter with family members. Then I would speak as naturally as I would speaking to a baby. Same thing. Dog? Nope. Talking to your self? Nope. .. still stutter. Then he just went on trying to wing it so I wouldn’t ask for my $75 back. An hour later, I was out $75 and didn’t ask for it back because it was not worth trying to get through the block.

A few months later, I asked my doctor if he could do anything, he sent me to a neurologist and more speech therapy. Again the speech therapy showed no results, and the neurologist put me on a few different drugs. I have a personal bias against taking any kind of medication, which combined with the cost and lack of tangible results, caused me to stop going.

While in therapy, I volunteered for some research testing for auditory feedback combinations. I went in every Saturday morning for 4 or 5 months, they stuck me in a sound proof booth, wired me up and had me speak. They would alter the delay and distortion of my voice coming back to me, then count the fluent and non-fluent words. After each run they asked me if I felt more fluent, and I believe I said no every time.

They also video taped it. I will try to get a video tape of these tests to put up on this blog. This may prove difficult since I don’t even remember the name of the place where I did it or any names of the people involved..

When I moved, my therapist in Halifax referred me to a therapist in Toronto. I thought it was more of the same, but when I did my assessment, I was pleasantly surprised when she told be about the Precision Fluency Shaping Program (PFSP).

I did the PFSP therapy jam packed into 3 weeks of hard work, and saw tangible, non-subjective results. For the first time ever, I saw results!

My therapy starts in 1 week. So in 4 weeks / 1 month, I will be fluent. And this time I will not stumble bringing it into the real world.

This is very exciting.

Not meant as advice, please find a qualified therapist if you are interested in similar therapy.


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